What Role Did Art Play in the Education, Jobs, and Economic Status of European People in the 1500s.?

The Renaissance period in Europe was a time of rebellion against the religious thoughts of that period in time. The artists were more interested and focused on the issues of people rather than consider their responsibility towards serving God. This definitely conflicted with the views of the Catholic Church in Rome which was the hotbed of political activity. The Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael etc. tried to bring in a religious revolution by their humanistic art.

In the 1500’s, literacy was still a privilege of the rich therefore art played a very important part in educating ordinary people. In Italy the renaissance art made people consider secular ideas and subsequently the power of the church declined. Throughout Europe there was a resurgence of artists during the renaissance period who through their art conveyed freedom of thought to the people. The royalty across Europe was always artistically inclined and were great patrons of artists of extraordinary caliber. The French monarch even brought renaissance artists from Italy to adorn his kingdom with fresh art. Only the nobles could afford such art therefore possessing such art & sculpture elicited a high status symbol.

As Renaissance artists became more popular, wealthy lords became patrons of them and won the support of the general public by throwing lavish exhibitions of Renaissance art. This was the time when European merchants grew very wealthy through trade and banking and they tried to gain the social status that they lacked by extending patronage to such art & culture.

Artists of the 1500’s who had above average talent were all influenced by the great renaissance artists themselves and therefore through their art they propagated fresh thinking which the public were demanding at that period of time. Art required a lot of financial resources which only the Catholic Church had at that time, therefore lot of the visual arts were propaganda by the church. But at the same time the Protestant Church popularized by Queen Elizabeth’s ascendancy to the throne brought about freedom to the masses that could break away from the Catholic Church and their rigid structure. Renaissance artists have to be given credit for this to have been able to awaken the masses from their deep stupor and rise against the atrocities of the Catholic Church at that time.

Therefore we see that art influenced the people of the 1500’s to a great extent by providing them with jobs, an elevated social status and partial education. This could not have happened in a day and therefore it was the 1500’s which saw the end of the renaissance with the Catholic Church accepting the views of the people.


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